Friday, October 28, 2011

The Clash Said It Best (updated)

Should I stay or should I go now?

So a couple different folks suggested we ask about our numbers on the list, which was really, really good advice, so thank you.  I love this community—it helps keep the insanity at bay.  So anyhow, our agency doesn’t really give numbers regularly until you are nearing the top, as child requests can change, etc.  But you can request then anytime.  I was kind of avoiding that until after the holidays, as there has been so little movement.  Last April-ish, we were around #72 and there have been 7 referrals since then.  So doing the math on that (…carry the one….) we should be around 65 or so.  Apparently, people have left the program or changed their child requests, because our new number is 35 for an infant and around 13 for a child over the age of 1.  So if the next 35 referrals (which they expect to start in around Feb) are infants, we wait as those families are matched.  At the current rate, that will a long, long wait. If some referrals for 18 month olds are mixed in, we move up that list.  However, all of the referrals for the last 7 months have been infant referrals, so we should really view ourselves as #35.  Anything else would be icing.
These numbers were unexpected by a long shot, and were really helpful, as I feel like it gives us breathing room to make a solid decision.  We started this process over a year ago, so are pretty attached to Ethiopia and would love to continue on this road. Yet I’m not sure if I am comfy having all of our eggs in one basket.  The conversation with the agency was very, very honest, very informational and very blunt, which was good, albeit hard to hear (could you tell from my last post?  Ha).  The one piece of information we did not have was our numbers, and I don’t have any idea right now what I think about that. 
Should we wait it out and just hope for the best?  Our agency is still allowing families to enter the program (with warnings about long wait times), they are working with quite a few orphanages who may be issuing referrals again in February, and are being as honest and forthcoming as they can.
Should we dual and make our 2nd adoption (we’d like 2 kids—pipe dream, I know) from Ethiopia?  Dualing is expensive and easier said than done.  However, it’s a really good option and I’m glad it’s available.
Should we leave the Ethiopia program?  No.  Not yet.
It’s all so confusing and makes me feel like this:

(that’s my nephew, who just learned to cross his eyes from my sister, who always was a talented eye-crosser)

Update so this makes more sense:
I love comments and advice from those who have been there, so keep 'em coming.  And just to be clear, dualing adoption is basically applying to another program within our agency and seeing what happens.  Only one adoption would happen at a time (whichever referral is accepted first), and once everyone is home and a certain amount of time has passed (6 months to a year), homestudy updated and such, the second adoption could proceed.  So we would not be adopting two children at once, unless they are sibs in the same program.  This is definitely taking the looong view.  Hope that makes sense. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our new adoption spot: Pandora!

We had a conference call with our agency tonight, and it was pretty much what we expected. Actually, it strongly reminded us both of the Post-Failed-IVF “WTF Conversation” with the docs, ie:

1. Things aren’t where we thought they would be.
2. Things have changed.
3. We don’t really know why, but we have some ideas.
4. Here are some options.
5. They are all really expensive.
6. They might work.
8. We assume zero liability for any of them.
9. They are all really expensive.

In a nutshell, adoptions in Ethiopia have slowed down lots-n-lots and will stay that way for the foreseeable future through our agency. New families are being told they have a wait time of three years. Three years. 7 months ago, the wait time for new families was 8 months. So, yeah, you could say adoption from Ethiopia has slowed just a tad.

So, yeah, I've got my Irish up. Feeling snarky. And depressed. And anxious. And extremely upset. Again. Have we just wasted (another) 7 months (yup, 7 months yesterday--not that it matters--)?

It’s one thing when the agency is upbeat. It’s easy to go into denial mode, and believe things like once court opens, things will speed up/this is just a speed bump/it’s a minor slowdown while the process gets worked out. Of course, once the agency itself starts to acknowledge there’s a problem….well, that’s a different story.

Our options: Dual with another program (2 at once--starting over on a lot of stuff), exit the program and find another one entirely, or wait The Wait.

Denial—not just a river in Egypt, right?

Soooooo.....what's next?

I have absolutely no f*&%ing clue. It’s just been such, such, such a long road, with no end in sight.

Is the Ethiopia program deader than disco? Maybe.

Should we change programs? Probably.

Dual ET with another program? Maybe.

Raise the age considerably? Maybe, but likely it won't help.

Give up entirely and spend our free time diving in tropical waters all over the world? Maybe.

It's hard, just hard, to constantly, constantly revise the future. It's just....hard.

So maybe we choose not to. I mean, really?

Maybe we are done, and this is the sign we‘ve been avoiding for so long.

**I fully admit that this post is knee-jerk reaction to the convo tonight. Whoever calls me out in comments for wanting families to fall apart in order for me to purchase a baby will have their email address used to signed up for pay-for-it-later magazines, starting with Cat Fancy.

**Ok, that was kind of judgmental to those who subscribe to Cat Fancy. Sorry. I'm sure it's a super knowledgable publication about fancy cats.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happiness is... (part 2)

Happiness is spending an entire week on the island of Maui with your smoochie-woochie-lovey-dove, just diving and boogie-boarding and soaking up the sun. Since our adoption went Code Red on the Suck-O-Meter about 12 hours before we boarded our plane, we made a pact to talk about children/adoption/future family for no more than 15 minutes a day (old trick from IF days) and it worked like a charm--we actually never addressed the issue once. Disengaging from life was the best possible thing for us right now; no bills or work or adoption news or stress of any kind. My biggest worry was whether I was getting a tad too crispy--sue m e, I'm Irish.

Our agency is holding conference calls over the next 2 weeks discussing options for waiting families (that's would be a bad sign, right?) so I'm sure more info will be coming. So in advance of impending despair, here are some pics to make you drool:

4 dives, including Molokini (crater in the middle of the ocean), Airport Beach and Turtle Town:

Paddleboarding, my new fave sport-except you really need some of those know, those things...what are they called?
(Tapping head)
Oh yeah! Muscles!!! Yeah, got to get me some of those. But still LOVED paddleboarding, which is quite popular right now. Cory, not so much. Apparently it helps to be short--some nonsense about centers of gravity.

And snorkelin and eating and soaking up rays from that big ball of fire in the sky that we will likely not see for around 11 more months.

Ahhhh. Maui.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Happiness is…

These three people: my sister, niece and nephew...

All of whom have…


To California. As in, 2 hours by plane from me. As in, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Close enough for a quick trip to visit, to talk on the phone in the same time zone, to see whenever I want!!!! Ice at London Heathrow 2 days before Christmas? Kiss off, you’re not my problem ANY LONGER!! Her hubs is back in the UK finishing up the final details, but should be here as soon as is humanly possible.

Welcome home, sis!!! More glad to have you back than I can possibly tell you.

Eating at In N Out...

Having birthday cake with Nana...

(On a totally separate note, anyone have any insight into the latest State Dept adoption notice? Sounds like they are a bit disgruntled with agencies, or is that just me?)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I had a weird experience last night. Not sure if it’s good or bad, but it is what it is. I was laying in bed, listening to the rain against the window, reading a good book, snuggled up with a purring kitty, and I thought (for the first time ever) “If this is it, then that’s fine. If the adoption works, fine. If not, fine. Whatever, Universe.”

From what I can tell, our agency has not had a referral in 3 months. Meaning for 3 of the 6 months we have been waiting, no one has moved on The List. How in the world are we going to get a referral in the estimated (and our agency has made it very clear that this is only an educated guess) 10-18 month wait? It’s got to be closer to 24-36 months, right? I mean, 10-18 months would be incredible, but is pretty airy-fairy pie-in-the-sky, right?

We have a lot going on right now outside of our adoption, and all of it exciting and fun. As we don’t get monthly numbers updates, I was planning on touching base with our case manager about our place on The List in November (last time we spoke about it was in May), but think that I might wait until after the holidays. Because honestly, I just don’t want to know. I can’t tell if I’ve just given up and lost hope, or if I’ve accepted our lot in life and that the wait is going to be years.

The Minister of MOWA arrives this weekend and will spend some time with the Ethiopian community in Seattle. I won’t be in town, but Cory will be there to represent. It sounds like court reopens next Weds, so maybe things will start shaking out then and some new norms for wait times will be in place.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Certifiably Certified

Aaaaand, done! 4 open water dives, lots of skills testing (including removing your mask 40 feet underwater--yikes!) in the Puget Sound, check! We had a surprisingly great time and are now officially PADI certified, just in time for Maui! YAHOO! Visibility was excellent (for the Sound), and we saw a huge octopus and fed a wolf eel. Very, very cool.

Cory finishing the book work, which had, you know, mathnstuff. (Pop Quiz: What do you get when you marry an art major with a theater major? Answer: A couple that strongly hopes that their child's first family has serious math skillz. Nature's just going to have to take over in that area, folks.)

Scuba diving is all about the gear:

YAY to certification!

(Can wet suits be any more uncomfortable? But man-oh-man, do they ever work! We really weren't cold at all, but my knuckles are all kinds of torn up trying to get the darned thing on. Some people coat themselves in olive oil ahead of time, and I don't really blame them--anything to help.)